By Mike Barry Sr.
Photography By Walter Lai
In 1981, my ex business partner, Mike Brown and I decided to attempt the Raid Pryenean, a 750 kilometer journey across the length of the Pyrenean mountain range that divides France and Spain. The route traverses eighteen mountain passes with a total of 11,000 metres (37,000 feet) of climbing, which must be completed within a total elapsed time of 100 hours. A good friend in a car that carried most of our gear supported us on the ride.
For the ride, we decided on two new Mariposa bikes, especially suited to the challenge. A wide range of gear rations with a triple chainwheel was chosen. We felt fenders were important, as we would be making the attempt in the Fall when wet and cold weather could be expected. The custom rear rack carried our wet weather wear when not needed and a handlebar bag carried a camera and other necessities. A tire driven generator powered front and rear lights.
Although we ran into some bad weather, including snow at the top of a couple of passes, we completed the ride well within the time limit. The bikes gave no problems other than one puncture. The bike is now fitted with clinchers tires but for the Raid we rode on wide Clement Paris Roubaix tubulars, as they were lighter and handled better on the climbs and descents.
Both bikes were equipped with Pacer 2000 cyclometers, the first electric units available. They had only three functions: speed, time and distance. They worked well except that they reset to zero half way through the ride. The Pacer company said that this was normal due to some computer function. The display fitted to the handlebar measured 11cm (41/2 inches) x 10 cm (4 inches).
Frame: Vitus double butted steel tubing, Simplex forged drop-outs with eyelets.
Fork: Vitus steel blades with Simplex forged drop-outs with eyelets.
Wheels: Super Champion rims mounted on Maillard 700 Helicomatic hubs.
Tires: 700C x 28mm
Crankset: Specialities TA 3 Pin triple
Pedals: Specialities TA
Derailleurs: Simplex SLJ 5500
Freewheel: Maillard Helicomatic
Handlebar: Cinelli Model 66, leather covered
Stem: Cinelli Model 1A, engraved “Mariposa”
Brakes: Mafac 2000 centre-pull
Saddle: Ideale model 90 leather
Rear Carrier: Mariposa custom
Mudguards: Petit Jean aluminum with Mariposa custom stays
Lighting: Sanyo generator with cable control from seat tube mounted lever. Sanyo head light and Soubitex rear light.